What Was 'Dance Fever?' Deney Terrio's Disco Showmanship Story

By Jacob Shelton
Deney Terrio and Motion on 'Dance Fever.; Source: eBay

Every week from 1979 to 1987 Deney Terrio and Motion brought Dance Fever into the homes of people across the country. Created by Merv Griffin, the series was born of disco and outlasted the dance trend long after it died. The dance series had celebrity judges who were of the time -- Sherman Hemsley, Barbi Benton and Herve Villechaize did the honors in the first episode -- and performances by artists like The Temptations and Rick Springfield. At the center was the competition, in which couples were given numerical scores based on originality, style, technique, and the all-important (though hard-to-define) "showmanship." Looking at the show today, it may seem like a relic of bad outfits past but at the time it was quite literally beaming culture into parts of the country where there was nothing but a bleak landscape.